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Does acrylic paint expire ?

Does acrylic paint expire ?

Want to use acrylic paint but don't know if it's out of date?

Acrylic paint is used both for Sunday crafting and for hobby activities. It is therefore important to use a paint that is still good in order to avoid inconveniences.

In this article you will find out:

  • What is the life expectancy of acrylic paint
  • How to know if the paint is out of date
  • Can we use expired paint

You'll get all the answers to your questions about this topic.

Let's find out together right now.

What is acrylic paint?

Versatility! This word alone sums up what makes acrylic paint so popular with professionals and novices alike.

Acrylic paint is made up of two main components:

- The pigments: similar to those of oil paint, of mineral and organic origin, natural (rare) or synthetic.

- The binder: an emulsion of water and acrylic resin or polymer. A variant is the acrylic-vinyl binder (vinyl paint). The texture of the binder is more or less fluid depending on the manufacturer.

While acrylic paint arrived later on the market, it has now largely supplanted glycerol paint. Because of its water-based composition, acrylic is used for both construction and painting.

How does acrylic paint go bad?

Sometimes acrylic paint dries out or separates in the tubes. This does not necessarily mean that the paint has degraded to the point that it is no longer usable. Temperature changes (or extreme temperatures) can change the consistency of the paint, but the paint usually becomes unusable due to developing mold.

There is a simple way to tell if acrylic paint has gone bad is to smell it. Expired acrylic paint will tend to have a sour, aged odor that could be the result of excess moisture where the paint was stored. 

The shelf life of acrylic paint is 2-5 years if the tube is opened and over 10 years if the container is sealed.

How to store acrylic paint?

The most important thing to keep paint for a long time is to avoid contact with the air. Before closing the lid, remove any excess paint that may be on the edges and grooves of the lid with a clean cloth. Then close it tightly using a solid object. To be on the safe side, cover the jar with plastic wrap when the size of the jar allows.

Whenever possible, keep your paint in its original container. Many people mistakenly believe that transferring paint to another container will extend its life. This is a myth!

Can I use expired acrylic paint?

As mentioned above, you may decide to use the paint from the old paint. However, if the acrylic paint has developed a pungent odor similar to spoiled milk, your best bet is to throw the paint away and start over.

So you can use expired paint if the pungent smell is not too noticeable.

If the paint has dried, you can add a small amount of water to make it usable. Be careful not to add too much water.

How long does unopened paint last

With acrylic paint, the "life expectancy" for unopened paint is over 10 years.

It can happen that when you squeeze an acrylic paint tube and a thick paint comes out surrounded by a puddle of almost transparent liquid, the paint has separated. In this case, the pigment and binder are no longer sufficiently mixed. This paint separation is not necessarily something you caused; it may be due to a manufacturer's error or cheap paint (in short, quality of the paint).

How to revive separated acrylic paint

You can make it usable again by mixing the pigment and binder with a palette knife. You can also return the paint to the store for a replacement if you just bought it.

What happens when you use expired paint

There is nothing wrong with using old acrylic paint because the shelf life of the paint is extremely long if you store it properly.

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